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Egoism vs. Altruism: Deconstructing the Debate

Psychological egoism maintains that all human motivation is ultimately selfish. Though people often desire to help others, egoists maintain that these desires are always instrumental, caused or sustained by the belief that helping will lead to the satisfaction of some self-interested desire. By contrast, psychological altruism maintains that some of our ultimate or non-instrumental desires are not self-interested; their object is the well-being of others. Philosophers from Hobbes to the present have worried that if egoism is true, moral behavior may be threatened, and drastic steps have been proposed to counter this threat. Recently both psychologists and evolutionary biologists lavished ...
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